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An Update on European Travel Permissions for 2021

March 19, 2019 ACIS Blog No Comments

In recent weeks, you may have heard a few news stories buzzing about upcoming changes to American travel permissions within Europe – Or maybe you haven’t and I’ve now suddenly caused alarm.

In either case, don’t panic! The ACIS Team wants to reassure that we are following the issue closely and want to provide you with an update on where things stand. When we get additional information, we will come back and update this post.


The Schengen Zone is made up of 26 countries that, since 1985, have abolished their internal borders for the “free and unrestricted movement of people.” Thanks to their agreement, once you’ve entered the Schengen area, you don’t need to show your passport crossing from Switzerland to Italy, from Germany to France, etc.

What Will Be Changing

On September 5, 2018, the European Union voted to establish the European Travel and Information Authorization System in order to more carefully regulate the external borders of the Schengen area.

Starting in 2021, visa-exempt third country nationals, such as United States citizens, will need to apply for a European Travel Information and Authorization System visa waiver, even if the travel is less than 90 days.

The ETIAS is NOT a visa! It is additional authorization, set to cost €7 and be valid for 3 years. US Citizens will apply online using their passport, email account and a credit or debit card. Your passport will need to be valid for 3 months beyond the period of intended stay.

Note: Applications for those under the age of 18: 

  1. Will not require the €7 application fee 
  2. Must be submitted by a person exercising permanent or temporary parental authority or legal guardianship 

FAQs  (and things we’ve been asking ourselves as well!) 

  • Can one person submit a group application? Unfortunately, no. Each traveler must submit an individual application.  
  • We don’t know yet how the ETIAS application process will intertwine with our current trip application process. ACIS tries to take as much off of the teacher/student/parent plate as humanly possible so that the focus is on the excitement of the trip, rather than the bureaucratic details. For security reasons, travelers may have to apply for the ETIAS themselves, but we will provide guidance every step of the way if that is the case.
  • We know it will go into effect for 2021 travel. We don’t know the specific date yet.
  • Could it ever become necessary for US Citizens to have a visa to travel to Europe for less than 90 days? It’s certainly possible in the future, but it is not required under the reported change.

The world is changing, but we are moving right along with it. We’re going to be there every step of the way to make sure that teachers and students still receive the quality care and attention that we’ve been giving for more than 40 years. We guarantee that exceptionally high standard for everyone, regardless of the travel year or the regulations in place because in the end, when you’re with ACIS, you’re taken care of.

For more information on travel documentation, visit our website

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